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'In celebration of the town of Brody, Austria, present day Ukraine, and the people who came from there, particularly those who died in the Holocaust.

  • Please add your ancestors or heroes from Brody to the project. You can do so by "following" the project first, then "add a profile to project" from the "more actions" menu.

The Jewish community of Brody (district city in Lviv (Lvov) region of western Ukraine) was one of the oldest and most well-known Jewish communities in the western part of Ukraine (and formerly in Austrian Empire / Poland up to 1939). During the 19th century, Brody was the second largest city in East Galicia (after Lviv (Lemberg)), with the highest proportion of the Jewish population (88 %) among Eastern European cities.

"A city, where wisdom and wealth, Torah and understanding, commerce and faith are united.

Nachman Krochmal in a letter to Isaac Erter 1961</blockquote>

The Jewish community of Brody perished in the Holocaust in 1942 and 1943 and is no more today.

They Say the Town of Brody Is No More


Copyright © 1987 Greta Chalfin

They say the town of Brody is no more. Supposedly, it has been turned into a restricted, off-limits security zone and there no longer is any trace of the streets, park and buildings where we grew up. Yet the mental image is so very clear in my mind that I could almost reach out and touch the irises bordering the large circular flower bed in the center of Rojekowka.

I can hear the wind rustling through the chestnut trees which lined the alleys all along the square park. I can see young couples sitting on park benches in the shade of those chestnut trees and I can remember gathering the chestnuts, knocking off the prickly green skin to get to the hard brown nuts we collected. I can almost taste the fresh wild strawberries, raspberries and blueberries displayed in black earthen pots by peasant women at the park entrance - right near the watchtower - and I can still relish the enjoyment of purchasing a 5¢ chocolate bar from Hart's kiosk in that watchtower and listen to the big clock strike the hour . . .

I remember the statue of Joseph Korzeniowski at the other corner of the park, where it towered over the street named for him. I can experience the sadness thinking of the untimely death of Urszulka Kochanowska, the 12-year-old daughter of a poet who was born in Brody and who immortalized her in a poem . . . And the pleasure of listening to the weekly concerts performed by the army brass band in the center of the park . . . And the carefree hours our gang spent in the park engaged in a game of hopscotch or "Snail" when we would draw the outlines in the soft ground and jump away in pursuit of a shard of glass . . .

Of course, with the onset of the war all this came to an abrupt end. In 1939 and later in 1941, bombs demolished many of the buildings. From our gang of playmates only three survived; but maybe these memories are so very real because they were the last carefree days of our childhood and contained all that we held dear before it was taken from us forever.

Holocaust in Brody

The Jewish community of Brody perished in the Holocaust. A group of 250 Brody Jewish intellectuals were shot nearby the Jewish cemetery in Brody (where the Holocaust monument stands now). Some of surviving Brody Jews were imprisoned in the family camp of Pyanytsia (Pianica) in the forests near Lviv. All of remaining Brody Jews were moved into the ghetto created in the town on January 1, 1943 (or December 1942). Another 3,000 Jews from neighbouring areas of Zolochiv, Lopatyn and Busk were subsequently added to Brody's ghetto. Horrible work conditions made some young people to run away joining the Soviet army. Ghetto's poor hygiene and hunger were non-tolerable. The disease and famine took hundreds of Jewish lives. On September 19, 1942, around 2,500 Jews of Brody were deported to the extermination camp of Belżec (today a little town on Polish Ukrainian border). On November 2, 3,000 more Jews were sent from Brody to Bełżec extermination camp. Many Brody Jews were exterminated in Majdanek concentration camp near Lublin (a city in the south east corner of Poland).

All 9,000 Jews of Brody ghetto were subsequently mass murdered on May 1, 1943.

The Synagogue That Couldn't Be Destroyed

The Nazis succeeded in destroying much of the Jewish population of Brody. Much of the town itself was destroyed in the Battle of Brody. This was a terrific battle that took place between the Galicia Division, Ukrainians who were fighting on the side of the Germans in the hope of winning Ukrainian independence, and the Soviets. The Galicia Division was badly beaten, with tremendous loss of life. But neither the enemies of the Jews nor the bombardment of battle could completely destroy Brody's 17th-century fortress synagogue. To this day, its shell remains and can be viewed by travelers.

Brody, in Memoriam

Profiles

Notables

  • Jan Kochanowski was a Polish Renaissance noble considered to be the greatest Polish poet.
  • Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer the Ba'al Shem Tov or Besht is considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism.
  • After the death of anti-semitic Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1780, the Austrian Government was benevolent to Jews, and by 1868 Galicia's Jews had attained equal status under the law.
  • Berl Broder,(1815–1868), born Berl Margulis, was a Ukrainian Jew, the most famous of the Broder singers, 19th century Jewish singers comparable to the troubadours or Minnesänger, and reputed the first to be both a singer and an actor.
  • Amalia Amalie Freud had an excellent relationship with her son Sigmund Freud. According to her grandson Martin Freud, she was a typical Galician Jewish woman; she "had great vitality and much impatience; she had a hunger for life and an indomitable spirit."

Brody's Owners

Brody has had city rights since 1546. In 1580 it was bought by Stanisław Żółkiewski Senior who named it Lubicz, the name of his Coat of Arms. Since 1595 the city name is Brody. Later Lubicz/Brody belonged to his son, Stanisław Koniecpolski (1591-1646), the next Grand Hetman of the Crown, who built the Brody Castle.

The next famous owner of Brody was Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland. Later (1704) he sold Brody to the Potocki family. Jakub Ludwik Fanfanik Sobieski ... son of the king Jan III Sobieski John III Sobieski ... 4. Later he sold in 1704 Brody to Potocki family.

Rabbis

  • Rabbi Saul Katzenellenbogen b. Rabbi Moses b. Meir, the rabbi of Chelm.
  • Rabbi Isaac b. Issachar-Berish was known as “Cracower” (after his birthplace), a leader of the Council of the Four Lands and the grandson of Rabbi Heschel of Cracow, Rabbi Isaac headed the Brody community in the years 1690-1704.
  • Rabbi Abraham Cahana b. Rabbi Shalom Shachna, a parnas of the Cracow community. He presided in Brody until 1718 when he was called to preside over Ostrog (Ostraha). However, he was forced to leave when an overlord of the city coveted his daughter.
  • Rabbi Eliezer Rokeach. In 1735, Rabbi Eliezer was invited to preside over the Ashkenazi community in Amsterdam. Because of strife in the city, he subsequently left and emigrated to Eretz Israel in 1740. Some of Rabbi Eliezer's published writings are: “Ma'asei Rokeach” on the Mishnayol, “Ma'asei Rokeach” on the Torah; “Arba'ah Turei Even” including 24 responsa, and a commentary on the Haggadah of Passover.
  • Rabbi Jacob-Jokel Horowitz headed the Rabbinate of Brody for 11 years starting in 1736. Due to the rabbi's verdict against the daughter of an important family, who had been charged with adultery before a civil court, Rabbi Jacob was forced to leave Brody and moved to Glogau, where he served as rabbi from 1747.
  • Rabbi Meir Margoliouth, author of the “Meir Netivim”
  • Rabbi Nathan b. Levi, a famous Hasid, was known as a vigorous opponent of Shabbateanism and Frankism. It was his opinions that shifted the balance against the writings of Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschuetz in 1752, having them declared “absolute heresy.”
  • Rabbi Ezekiel Landau, author of the “Noda bi-Yehudah”, settled and studied in Brody for a few years. He differed with most of the scholars of the kloiz concerning Rabbi Eybeschuetz, and attempted to prevent the banning of his works.
  • Rabbi Abraham Gershon Kitover, the Ba'al Shem Tov's brother in-law, came from his native town of Dubno to live in Brody and be part of the kloiz. Kitover served for many years as substitute rabbi to Moses Osterer b. Hillel of Zamosc. He achieved fame with his book “Arugot Ha-Bosem”.
  • Rabbi Naftali b. Levi, author of “Bait Levi” and “Ateret Shlomo”, was also outstanding among the scholars of the kloiz in Brody.
  • Ephraim Zalman Margolioth established a banking-house which proved so successful that within a short time he became quite wealthy. In 1785 he published his responsa entitled "Bet Ḥadash ha-Ḥadashot"; and in the following year the rabbis of Brody elected him one of their number.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Kluger held the offices of Dayan and preacher at Brody for more than fifty years.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Ya'akov Kuten son of Yosef Aharon Kuten "Hayashis", was born in 1872 (תרל"ג ) to his father who was the head of the Rabbinc Court ( אב"ד) of Lesznow near Brody. He inherited his father position in 1892. He became the head of the Rabbinic Court of Brody after World War I. He became the head of The Rabinic Court of Ludmir, ,Ukraine before the Holocaust.

The Kloiz of Brody.

In the 18th century, eminent rabbis from all over Galicia would come there to study Torah all week long, into the wee hours of the night. "At the time," writes Rabbi Yehezkel Landau (1714-1793), author of "Noda Beyehuda," who was sent to Brody to study at the age of 13, "it was a town of ethereal beauty, full of scholars and authors."

Among the kloiz scholars were a handful who devoted themselves to the study of Jewish mysticism. Stories and legends grew up around this city where the hum of learning never stopped, and its reputation for piety and sanctity persevered over the generations. At the same time, it served as a source of inspiration for the Haskalah movement, and the literary works of several important authors, among them Shalom Aleichem and S.Y. Agnon, were set here.

Literary critic and researcher Dov Sadan (1892-1989), born in Brody, heaps praises on the town in his memoir "Mimehoz Hayaldut." Apart from his personal memories, he is proud of the intellectual giants, fathers of the Enlightenment, who walked its streets: Joshua Heschel Schorr, Jacob Samuel Bick, Nahman Krochmal (the Ranak), to name a few.

Died in the Holocaust


Emigrants to the United States

Emigrants to Israel (Palesteine)

  • Dov Sadan
  • Sara Shwalb-Kutten
  • Aharon Kutten

Finding Our Galician Ancestors

Hello, I am a little upset how easily facts can be changed and "legends" created.

Jan Kochanowski was born in CENTRAL POLAND and he had NOTHING common with Brody. Listing him as "notables" born in Brody is like to connect Mohandas Gadhi to Washington D.C. and to say that he was born there (based only on fact that there is a monument of M. Gadhi in Washington D.C.). Be more exact and more careful, and check at least Wikipedia before you list facts and description of a town or well-known people......

regards Wojciech Kauczynski

Hi Wojciech --

I was quoting from a copyrighted work so needed to respect the written copyright. Perhaps the original translation was in error, I do not know.

I have of course re-moved the profile of Joseph Conrad from the project but do need to leave it in the narrative. Your note here stands as the correction.

Best regards Erica Howton

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